Indians’ Josh Tomlin excited for Game 3 start

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Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin listens to a question during a news conference for Friday’s Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: WS128

By Toni Ginnetti

For the Sun-Times

All the emotions that will electrify Wrigley Field Friday won’t just be in the stands among Cubs fans.

They will be stirring for Cleveland Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who will have his father Jerry with him for the first time since emergency surgery for a rare spinal cord condition hospitalized the elder Tomlin in August.

Jerry Tomlin was paralyzed from the chest down with a rare malady causing blood vessels to tangle in the spinal cord. Josh took an emergency leave to be with his father in the Tyler, Texas hospital where he was operated on and confined.

They haven’t seen each other since, with Jerry watching Josh pitch in two post-season games from his hospital room.

But he was cleared Wednesday to travel, with Chicago the destination.

“It means a lot,’’ Josh Tomlin said. “It wasn’t looking like he was going to get to come to a game at all. But the fact we get to experience the World Series together is pretty neat.

“It will be good to get to see him and have dinner with him [Thursday] and then get to work tomorrow,’’ he added.

Tomlin and manager Terry Francona know they will have their work cut out for them in what will be an historic night.

“I think it will be a tremendous atmosphere, and I thought the one in Cleveland was too,’’ Francona said. “I think it’s good for baseball. I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of people cheering for us. But then, that’s where the feeling of the clubhouse comes in.’’

An “us against the world’’ view is how Francona sees it, and in Tomlin, he will have a pitcher not unlike the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks leading his team.

Tomlin, 32, was 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA in the regular season, his stats skewed by a 0-5 month of August when he couldn’t command his curveball.

He is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 10 2/3 innings of post-season work.

“You talk about his demeanor, attitude or whatever,’’ Francona said. “I just think he’s built to pitch good all the time. I think when you get challenged, like [Friday] is going to be an incredible atmosphere, it feels good to send him to the mound.

“He’s going to compete, and he makes the opposing team beat him. He doesn’t walk people. You can’t run on him.

“Sometimes the opposing team beats him, but he’s not going to beat himself.’’

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.

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